Follow Pauline Jaricot’s example, Pope tells Pontifical Mission Societies
May 18, 2022
Emphasizing missionary conversion, prayer, and the “concreteness of charity,” Pope Francis encouraged the Pontifical Mission Societies to “walk the path traced” by Venerable Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862), the laywoman from Lyon, France, who founded the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Living Rosary.
The four Pontifical Mission Societies are the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith, the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Pontifical Missionary Union. The Societies are holding a general assembly from May 16-23 in Lyon, and Jaricot will be beatified there on May 22.
In a message dated May 12 and published May 16, Pope Francis wrote that “Pauline Jaricot liked to say that the Church is missionary by nature and that therefore every baptized person has a mission, indeed, is a mission. Helping to live this awareness is the first service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.”
In discussing missionary conversion, the Pope wrote that “it is my wish that within the renewed Roman Curia, the Dicastery for Evangelization takes on a special role in order to foster the missionary conversion of the Church, which is not proselytism, but witness: going out of oneself to proclaim with one’s life the gratuitous and saving love of God for us, who are all called to be brothers and sisters.”
The goodness of mission depends on the journey of going out of oneself, on the desire not to center one’s life on oneself, but on Jesus, on Jesus who came to serve and not to be served (cf. Mk 10:45 ). In this sense Pauline Jaricot saw her existence as a response to God’s compassionate and tender mercy: since her youth she sought identification with her Lord, also through the sufferings she went through, in order to ignite the flame of his love in every man. Here lies the source of the mission, in the ardor of a faith that is not satisfied and that, through conversion, imitates day by day in order to channel God’s mercy on the streets of the world.
But this is possible —second aspect —only through prayer, which is the first form of mission It is no coincidence that Pauline placed the Society of Propagation of the Faith alongside the Living Rosary, as if to reaffirm that mission begins with prayer and cannot be achieved without it (cf. Acts 13: 1-3). Yes, because it is the Spirit of the Lord who precedes and enables all our good works: the primacy is always of his grace.
“I hope that you walk the path traced by this great missionary woman, allowing yourself to be inspired by her concrete faith, her audacious courage, her generous creativity,” he concluded. “Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, I invoke the blessing of the Lord upon each one of you and I ask you, please, to pray for me.”
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